All Posts By

Jesse

Small marketing budget? Stretch your dollars for maximum growth.

how much to spend on marketing

What’s the best way to spend on marketing with a limited budget?

The short answer is there is no short answer. There are two basic ways to engage in marketing – time leveraged strategies and money leveraged strategies. I can tell you that time up front will pay dividends on the back end.

Blindly recommending Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or print materials without a great strategy is going to leave you at the mercy of their algorithms. Sure, your impressions are going to be high, but so will taking out an ad in Time magazine. High impressions, zero engagement.

Before I recommend where to spend your marketing dollars, you need to answer some basic questions yourself:

  1. What is the value and purpose of your product or service?
  2. What is your desired outcome?
  3. Who is your target audience?
  4. What is the best platform on which to reach them?

The confluence of these questions will lead you right to where you need to go. The bulk of your attention and time should be focused on these questions before you determine where you’re going to spend your money.

Your planning in this phase is an investment, where you spend your money is a cost.

My close personal friend, Albert Einstein, is alleged to have said the following:

If I had only one hour to solve a problem, I would spend up to two-thirds of that hour in attempting to define what the problem is.

Preparation is the key to the success of your marketing campaign. The difference between spending $5,000 and $50,000 on marketing is more in the preparation than the execution – targeting the right people with the right message at the right time(s).

What’s the value and purpose of your product or service?

Charity Water and Nike both offer valuable products, but why people buy into each one is completely different. As such, their voice, tone, and messaging will look drastically different. You have to know your why before you start marketing it.

What is your desired outcome?

Marketing strategies must be built on more than “grow my business”. Here are a couple outcomes to get your brainstorm session going:

  • Establish a unique voice to differentiate from competition
  • Create a core mission to help build the brand
  • Focus on customer acquisition
  • Focus on customer retention or reconversion
  • Raise awareness about a new product or service
  • Recover from bad PR, competitor smear campaign, or a shift in the industry
  • Run a seasonal promotion or promote an event

Desired outcomes allow you to better determine the quantitative and qualitative aspects of your marketing campaign. More importantly, it helps you get inside your customer’s heads and where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Who is your target audience?

Let’s say we’re building a marketing campaign for Sesame Street’s live show in a region. The primary target audience is not going to be the children who watch the show, but the parents who will buy tickets. Social media will show pictures of parents having fun with their children. Ads will be geo-targeted to parents near an event. We would aggressively re-target anyone who has previously attended a live event.

If we went in building a campaign for children, we’d be completely missing the audience that is willing and able to pay (not to mention potentially breaking CIPA laws in this case).

The point is your audience will differ on many demographics and where they’re at in the customer’s journey. The more clarity you have here, the better you can target the right people with the right message.

What is the best platform to reach your audience?

In general, we prefer to use digital campaigns.It’s much easier to track and adjust to what’s working and what isn’t. Plus, digital creates multiple opportunities to engage.

Think of the 80/20 rule, or in this case, an 80/10/10 rule: 10 percent of your audience will buy, 10 will not.

Wouldn’t you like multiple opportunities to convince the 80 percent on the fence?

By retargeting through Google, Facebook, or your Newsletter, you have the chance to communicate repeatedly.

This is where you can still make a big impact with little money. If you don’t have a high marketing budget or a huge audience, spend money fishing in a small pond where you know you can get a bite, then set yourself up to follow up repeatedly. Bonus tip: if you can build an email list from your campaign, you can retarget and follow up at a fraction of the cost of ad-spend with an automated drip campaign.

This could look like targeting a very niche group of people on Facebook, having a booth at an industry conference or farmers market, or hosting workshops.

If you already have an audience, you can focus on turning them into evangelists by adding more value or giving them a reason to let others know about you.

No matter what your marketing budget looks like, keep spending time answering your core marketing questions and clarifying your goals. If you do this, then your marketing success won’t be at the mercy of algorithms, but on a clear, refined process.

Need some strategy?

We can help you make decisions to minimize risk.

Alright! Let's talk.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Book of the Month & Winner

I’ve heard from several successful c-level executives that a degree in psychology is far more valuable to a career in business and sales than an MBA.

It’s true. The better you can understand your customers in a deep way, the better you will be able to add value to them (make sales).

Congratulations to this month’s winner, Zac W. The book should be on the way to your house. If you didn’t win this month, I encourage you to buy a copy for your personal library!

Summary

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say “yes”—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.

You’ll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

In Praise of Influence

For marketers, this book is among the most important books written in the last ten years. (Journal of Marketing Research)
Influence should be required reading for all business majors. (Journal of Retailing)
This book will strike chords deep in the hearts and psyches of all of us. (Best Sellers Magazine)
The material in Cialdini’s Influence is a proverbial gold mine. (Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology)

10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management – Summary

10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management Study Guide

Book Summary

Truth be told I have not finished this book yet. Why? Was it that dull? Quite the contrary…

The book is so good that I need to take my time and consume it. I really need to wrestle with some of the concepts and figure out what makes me tick.

In fact, I plan on taking a vacation for a couple days to go over one question in the book. That question:

What are your governing values?

Your governing values are the foundation of your personal fulfillment. Governing values range from faith to family to health to finances and everything in between. There’s a story of an executive who, a couple years before his son tragically passed away, wrote down his governing values and shifted his focus toward his family. What amazed me is that he had no regrets about his relationship with his son. There was zero, I mean zero mention of “I wish I would have…” in the man’s story. His governing values enabled him to have a deep, rich, fulfilled relationship with his son.

That is what I want out of life. That is what I want for all of you – to have zero regrets. I highly recommend you pick up this book. Spend time with it. Wrestle with it. Re-read it.

Key Questions

Inner peace is having serenity, balance, and harmony in our lives through the appropriate control of events.

The ways you wasted time today are much the same as the ways you wasted time last week and last month. And unless you identify the principal culprits and create a plan for eliminating them, you will continue wasting time in the same pattern every day for the rest of your life.

Is what I’m doing today really what matters to me in my life?

How did the book help you? What did you think? Comment below or use the hashtag #NewVistaBookClub

10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management by Hyrum W. Smith

November-2017-business-leadership-book

Book of the Month & Winner

This month, we are learning about proven strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace in 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management. This is the book that’s in the library of every successful person’s mentor.

It’s my belief that there’s no such thing as time management – there’s nothing you can do to get more or less of it. There’s only life management to make the most of the time given to you.

Congratulations to this month’s winner, DeAngelo M. The book should be on the way to your house. If you didn’t win this month, I encourage you to buy a copy for your personal library!

Summary

Proven strategies for increased productivity and inner peace (can I get an “amen”)

This is written for anyone who suffers from “time famine”. This essential handbook provides simple, effective methods for successfully taking control of one’s hours–and one’s life. Smith shows how, by managing time better, anyone can lead a happier, more confident and fulfilled life.

In Praise of Small Giants

Strongly influenced by Benjamin Franklin, Smith, CEO of a Utah consulting company, offers insightful pronouncements on America’s time fragmentation. “Life is getting more and more hectic. The daily treadmill is accelerating, and we have to run faster and faster just to stay in one place.” His recommendations for regaining control of time, events and hence life are intriguing, as are his suggestions on goal setting, planning and negative behavior traits. Yet Smith’s sharply focused managerial constructs become muddled with material on “life management,” aimed at achieving “inner peace–the transcendant feeling of fulfillment and well-being.” And his commercial endorsements of his company’s seminars and products are irksome. —Publishers Weekly

Small Giants – Summary & Study Guide

October Book Club Study Guide

Book Summary

I’ve never read a book quite like Small Giants. Most books, like John Maxwell books, are written with the chapters using the following format:

  1. Principal
  2. Anecdote
  3. Three keys to the principal
  4. Quote from famous person
  5. Summary of Principal

Small Giants takes a completely different format. It’s 100% story. All anecdotes and case studies in an engaging narrative format. That said, it’s difficult to extract clear principles from each chapter when you don’t have a framework for which each chapter is written.

If you’re the type of person who finds inspiration from pioneers and other successful entrepreneurs, and you can curl up next to a fire and read nonfiction, then this book is definitely for you.

Key Thoughts

Each leader of the companies in this book was hyper-aware of what kind of company they wanted to create and why they were creating it. When growth comes, the temptation is to focus on sustaining and feeding this growth.

True winners stop for a moment to evaluate what growth will do to the company and its values. The companies that burnt out or went bankrupt got so distracted by growth and success that it leads to being stretched too thin or compromising core values.

Find your true North and do not deviate from it. Invest in people and legacy and building a quality product, and pursue greatness instead of bigness.

The key takeaway for me out of this book was the fact that business should be fun. If it becomes overly stressful, stop and evaluate when it stopped being a joy. Life is far too short to be overworked and hate what you do. Build a company you love, build up others, and give more than you get. That is why we started this in the first place.

Chapter Principals (Cheat Sheet)

As I mentioned, you really have to read the chapter in order to find the principal. The brain is better at taking a principal and breaking it down instead of trying to figure it out themselves.

Below is a metaphorical “puzzle box” to reference while you’re piecing together the puzzle of each chapter:

  1. Free to Choose. You are in control of how big or small or fast or slow your company grows. Getting big is not the goal necessarily. Building a company you are proud of is. If you want to have freedom and choice, you have to fight for it. You can say “no” in order to keep your options open and choose how far and how fast to grow.
  2. Who’s in Charge Here? You’re not a victim to failure or success. You are in charge. In this chapter, you’ll see business owners confronted with decisions to grow, get bigger, go go go. You’ll see their soul searching they did to find what was most important.
  3. The Mona Lisa Principle. The Mona Lisa would not be as famous if it wasn’t in the Louvre, France, if it wasn’t lit and guarded the way it was. Location means a lot. This chapter focuses on social good and how you can invest and grow your community and empower your people to follow suit. You’ll also see practical ways you can do so.
  4. Ties That Bind. “Enlightened hospitality” is a key concept in this chapter. It’s the emotional skill involving the ability to make customers feel that you’re on their side. The 5 values of hospitality are, in order of importance: caring for each other (team); caring for guests (customers); caring for the community; caring for suppliers; and caring for investors and profitability.
  5. A Culture of Intimacy. Create a culture where people feel like an owner and are treated like one. This is where companys core values are woven into the fabric of each employee and stakeholder. Mission statements flow out of this higher purpose, higher purpose does not flow out of mission statements. There are great stories of how a company can do more than provide financially for people, but really become anchors in people’s lives. This is really where legacy comes into play.
  6. Galt’s Gulch. Building off the last chapter, you’ll see leaders and founders figure out how to shape the world inside their company’s walls, and how that can go on to affect how that company shapes or reorders the world at large in some way. Think micro impacting the macro.
  7. How Small Giants Fail. Pretty straightforward here, but there are a lot of great financial tips and ways to consider profitability and growth. The three key components in here is how to focus on steady margins; healthy balance sheets; and having a sound business model.
  8. Pass It On. The most important thing in this life arguably is legacy. How does one build legacy and share what you have with others. Think of your 40 year goals and work backward from there
  9. The Art of Business. There’s no right or wrong way to do business. Focus on your strengths and be true to yourself. Hire for your weaknesses. Most importantly, enjoy the heck out of what you do.

 

Small Giants by Bo Burlington

Business Leadership Book Club - October 2017

Book of the Month & Winner

This month, we are learning about being excellent rather than large in Small Giants by Bo Burlingham.

We often get romantic about building a large company – hiring, franchising, expanding… What if you could stay small and continue to be more profitable year over year? That’s what I hope to learn this month.

Congratulations to this month’s winner, Sara M. The book should be on the way to your house. If you didn’t win, I encourage you to buy a copy for your library.

Summary

How maverick companies have passed up the growth treadmill — and focused on greatness instead.

It’s an axiom of business that great companies grow their revenues and profits year after year. Yet quietly, under the radar, a small number of companies have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals. Goals like being great at what they do, creating a great place to work, providing great customer service, making great contributions to their communities, and finding great ways to lead their lives.

In Small Giants, veteran journalist Bo Burlingham takes us deep inside fourteen remarkable companies that have chosen to march to their own drummer. They include Anchor Brewing, the original microbrewer; CitiStorage Inc., the premier independent records-storage business; Clif Bar & Co., maker of organic energy bars and other nutrition foods; Righteous Babe Records, the record company founded by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco; Union Square Hospitality Group, the company of restaurateur Danny Meyer; and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, including the world-famous Zingerman’s Deli of Ann Arbor.

Burlingham shows how the leaders of these small giants recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they could create. And he shows how we can all benefit by questioning the usual definitions of business success. In his new afterward, Burlingham reflects on the similarities and learning lessons from the small giants he covers in the book.

In Praise of Small Giants

“Burlingham crafts a beautiful collage and analysis of companies that focus on being the best instead of growing like a cancer into huge corporations…Bigger is not better, and this book proves it.” —Tim Ferriss, in The 4-Hour Workweek

“In short, Small Giants is a Large Masterpiece. Bo’s reporting is stupendous, and his writing and storytelling skills make the book equal parts fun and profound.” —Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

“Small Giants is one of the most relevant and articulate arguments for staying bold and creative, intimate and manageable as I have ever read.” —Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop

“Small is the new big. If that feels like an offbeat idea to you, you need this book!” —Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow 

The Effective Executive – Summary & Study Guide

Study Guide - Featured Image Copy

Book Summary

Good mentors and coaches ask excellent questions. The best mentors and coaches in my life spend 80% of our meetings asking and prodding and questioning and peering. They get into my mess and my life and ask me the questions I should be asking myself. Good questions are mirrors to help you see your true self. The remaining 20% of the meeting is actually coaching and teaching.

Good questions are mirrors to help you see your true self.

The best part of this book are those questions hidden in long paragraphs that make you stop and think. In this book, Peter Drucker becomes what all good mentors strive to be – a master questioner. This book, and the questions therein, have the potential to reveal exactly how effective you really are as a worker or leader.

Like most personal development books, there are many anecdotes and stories to supplement his points. Those are hit-or-miss as far as how helpful they are. Ultimately, if you pay attention to anything that ends in a question mark, you’ll be all the better.

Below are some of the key questions and quotes I pulled from the book. Please take the time to go through these and evaluate your own effectiveness.

Key Questions

The main thesis of the book revolves around: “What needs to be done?” Note that the question is not “What do I want to do?”

Is this decision the right thing for the enterprise? Failure to ask this question virtually guarantees the wrong decision.

If you have anyone working under your supervision, these next series of questions are gold! It invites buy-in, gives a voice to the timid, and brings enthusiasm to the people.

  • What should we at the head of this organization know about your work?
  • What do you want to tell me regarding this organization?
  • Where do you see opportunities that we do not exploit?
  • Where do you see dangers to which we are still blind?
  • All together, what do you want to know from me about this organization?

On Time…

  1. Try to identify and eliminate things that need not be done at all, the things that are purely waste of time without any results whatever. One must ask of all activities on your time-log: “What would happen if this were not done at all?” If the answer is, “Nothing would happen,” then stop doing it.

I have yet to see an executive, regardless of rank or station, who could not consign something like a quarter (25%) of the demands of his or her time to the trash without anybody’s noticing their disappearance.

  1.   Which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better?
  2.   What do I do what wastes others time without contributing to their effectiveness?

On Contribution…

What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and results of the institution I serve?

What can I and no one else do which, if done really well, could make a real difference to this company?

Ask your colleagues, “What contribution from me do you require to make your contribution to the organization? When do you need this, how do you need it, and in what form?”

“What are the contributions for which this organization and I, your superior, should hold you accountable? What should we expect of you? What is the best utilization of your knowledge and your ability?”

On Strength…

Staff to exploit strengths, not avoid weaknesses. Never ask, “How does he get along with me?” The question should be, “What does he contribute?” Not “what can a man not do?” but rather, “What can he do uncommonly well?”

Rules for staffing:

  1. Be on guard against “impossible” jobs–those that look logical on paper but perhaps has defeated two or three men in succession.
  2. Make each job demanding and big. It should have a challenge to bring out whatever strength a  man may have. Jobs also change, so the “perfect fit” soon becomes the misfit.
  3. You must start with what a man can do rather than what a job requires. Arrive at an appraisal of a man before you decide whether he is the right person to fill a bigger position.
    • What has he or she done well?
    • What, therefore, is he likely to be able to do well?
    • What does he have to learn or acquire to be able to get the full benefit from his strength?
    • If I had a son or daughter, would I be willing to have him or her work under this person? Why?
  4. To get strength, know you must put up with weaknesses.

On Decision Making…

  1. Is this a generic situation or an exception? Is this something that underlies a great many occurrences? Or is this occurrence a unique event that needs to be dealt with as such? (Generics always has to be answered through a rule, a principle.)
  2. Specifically what must the decision accomplish? What are the objectives the decision has to reach? What are the minimum goals it has to attain? What are the conditions it has to satisfy?
  3. What is right, rather than what is acceptable (let alone who is right)? Someone has to compromise, but without answering #2 you’ll make the wrong compromise.
  4. Convert the decisions into actions. Who has to know of this decision? What action has to be taken? Who is to take it? What does the action have to be so that the people who have to do it and can do it?
  5. Feedback has to be built into the decision to provide continuous testing, against actual events, the expectations that underlie the decision.

Key Quotes…

If one cannot increase the supply of a resource (e.g. time), one must increase its yield. And effectiveness is the one tool to make the resources of ability and knowledge yield more and better results.

The man who focuses on efforts and who stresses his downward authority is a subordinate no matter how exalted his title and rank. But the man who focuses on contribution and who takes responsibility for results, no matter how junior, is in the most literal sense of the phrase, “top management.” He holds himself accountable for the performance of the whole.

An organization which just perpetuates today’s level of vision, excellence, and accomplishment has lost the capacity to adapt. It will not be capable of survival in a changed tomorrow. See Blockbuster, Toys R Us, etc.

To tolerate – indeed to encourage – diversity, differences in temperament and personality, relationships must be task-focused rather than personality-focused. The question should be “What is right?” not “Who is right?”

People who get nothing done often work a great deal harder.

How did the book help you? What did you think? Comment below or use the hashtag #NewVistaBookClub

The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

Business Leadership Book Club - September 2017

Book of the Month Winner

To kick off this first month, we are reading a book about focusing on the right things and being effective.

John Maxwell describes being efficient as getting things done right, and being effective and getting the right things done. Today there is no shortage of opportunities and ideas to start or grow. If you’re like me, you have one at least decent idea you could implement each day.

Some Key Targets in the Book

  1. Know where your time goes.
  2. Focus on outward contribution.
  3. Build on strengths.
  4. Concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results.
  5. Make effective decisions.

Key Quote

“It is more productive to convert an opportunity into results than to solve a problem – which only restores the equilibrium of yesterday.”

This Month’s Winner

Congratulations to this month’s randomly selected winner, Joe S. The book is on its way to you. For everyone else, I highly recommend picking up this book. It’s about the price of two coffees, and if it has one good thing to say for you, it’s worth it.

Remember

  • You can invite your friends to join, and you get unlimited extra chances to win the book.
  • Later this month I will be sending out a study guide to help you implement what you learn in the book.
  • Share what you’re learning with others using the hashtag #NewVistaBookClub and you’ll get featured in next month’s newsletter.

Happy reading!

What’s the best website platform for a robust, searchable digital archive?

A prospect recently asked the question following question:

What is the best website platform for a robust, searchable digital archive/library/gallery?

Since this person is likely not the only one to have this question, I figured I’d share my response here.

Everything we recommend at New Vista Digital is based on each business or person’s specific needs. I can’t say Drupal, Cargo, or something else is best for you without knowing your needs. Most web shops only recommend their specialty as the best solution. WordPress designers will say WordPress. Custom shops will always say to build custom.

So without knowing all the details, I’d recommend you look into the following:

The Framework You Should Use

I’m a big fan of the Drupal framework. It’s extremely customizable and super fast. You’ll need some coding experience to really get it to do what you want, though. Right now I’m building an AngularJS web app using Drupal as the framework for the content, users, and database. Tons of huge sites, like weather.com, use Drupal.

Recommended Search Tools

Regardless of your framework, you’re going to want a more robust search technology and a dedicated search server. I recommend Apache Solr. This will be the biggest win for you. It is blazing fast, and can do enterprise level operations like:

  • Adjust for misspellings
  • Offer related terms
  • Advanced filteringfaceting, etc. It’s about as robust as it gets, but again you’d need web development experience to set up the search server.
  • Custom search facets
  • Cached index for search speed

It’s about as robust as it gets, and it’s open source (which means many world-class developers help build it and it’s free). Again, you’d need web development experience to set up the search server. It’s worth it though.

Other server-level considerations

If you’re delivering lots of images, you’ll need a CDN (content delivery network) to help with speed. A CDN is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver content to a user based on the geographic locations of three things: the user, the origin of the web page, and a content delivery server. Basically, it distributes all of your images and assets to servers all over the nation.

For example: if you want a picture of a kitten and you live in LA, it’s faster for the internet to deliver a picture from a server in LA than it is if the server is in NY.

Example of Load Balancing for your digital archiveYou’ll also want to look into server-level caching like Varnish Cache. Caching essentially pre-compiles your webpages, so when a user requests to view a page, the server can deliver a pre-compiled, or cached, page much faster.and perhaps some load balancing if you’re expecting lots of traffic.

Perhaps you might want to look into load balancing on the server if you’re expecting lots of traffic.

Phew! Hope this is useful for you. If you’re looking for someone to help you out, you can contact us at New Vista Digital and I can get you pointed in the right direction or set you up with a free consultation. We’re kind of like a virtual CTO or CMO. Cheers!

Announcing Saved Responses

New Saved Responses Feature

We released a new feature that makes sending one-to-one messages to your contacts easier and faster.

Now, you can save and reuse common messages and responses. This is a huge time-saver! Gone are the days of sharing Word docs of email templates (phew!)

What makes this feature so powerful is that your saved messages can be personalized with information about the contact. So, even though you’re using a boilerplate message, it can come across very personal. Done well, someone would never know that the message wasn’t thoughtfully drafted just for them, and you can ensure the message is relevant to that person.

When sending an email to an individual contact, just click the new saved responses icon, select a message from the list, and you’re done:

Adding and Using Saved Responses

Saved responses you create are global — they’re accessible to any user on your New Vista Marketing account — so they’re a great way to standardize your company’s sales process and ensure a consistent experience across your team. If someone has a message that works great, they can easily share it.

How to use Saved Responses

To create a saved response, go to your account settings. You’ll see a new “Saved Responses” category.

To get started, first create categories for your messages. You might have a category for each step of your sales process, a category for each sales person, or whatever makes sense for your company.

Click the Green “Add Response” button to begin composing the actual message. After giving it a name and category, you’ll see the compose message modal. Here you can draft and format the message.

To insert a personalization tag, type the percentage symbol (%) into the body of the message. You’ll be presented with a menu of fields you can insert. After selecting the field, you’ll see a blue placeholder indicating it’s a dynamic value.

Create Saved Response

When you use a saved response, the placeholders will be updated with the actual value from the contact record, so you’ll see exactly how the message looks prior to sending. If any of those fields don’t have a value, it will be highlighted in red (you’re welcome). If you try to send a response without a value, you’ll be prompted to insert a value, so you’d have a hard time accidentally sending an incomplete message.

The Saved Responses feature is a free update available to all plans. The feature is rolling out today. If you don’t already have it in your account, you’ll see it soon (over the next couple of days).